Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

Twenty-seven community-led groups in remote, rural and regional NSW will share in $912,505 awarded through the Resilience NSW COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program.

Funded by the NSW Government and administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), the grants were allocated to grassroots community groups and not-for-profit organisations that helped their communities navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

NSW Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the funding stream would help these groups build resilience and better mitigate the impact of pandemics and other disasters across their communities.

“We awarded between $3,363 and $50,000 to organisations, to support a wide range of regional capacity building initiatives to help enhance community wellbeing, create stronger local economies, and enable a greater ability to respond to future challenges,” Ms Cooke said.

“The pandemic has posed plenty of difficulties for people and families in remote and regional areas over the past two years, and community-led organisations played an important role in navigating those challenges.”

Ms Cooke said some of the common requests from community groups involved facility improvements, food security and assisting with the increased demand on local services in flood-devastated areas such as the Northern Rivers.

“We’ve been able to address some of these needs through this funding stream, to ensure these groups and the communities they work with are in better stead for the future.”

Some of the 27 funded projects include:

  • Agape Outreach Inc in Tweed Heads to improve staff and volunteer resilience and increase capacity to support the community through mental health and wellbeing training – $36,600.
  • Forster Neighbourhood Centre Inc in Forster to promote organisational capacity and support local access to essential services by contributing to the fit-out of the new Forster Neighbourhood Centre – $50,000.
  • Gunnedah Meals on Wheels Association in Gunnedah to improve the capacity of Gunnedah Meals on Wheels to support vulnerable community members through a hamper program and the purchase of a large deep freezer – $8,150.
  • LeaderLife Ltd in Dubbo to grow organisational resilience and support skills development in local youth through a new syntropic farming system – $50,000.
  • Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla in Moruya to increase organisational capacity and promote food security in the Eurobodalla Shire through the hiring of a Business Manager – $50,000.

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said the grants acknowledge and will strengthen the capacity of regional organisations in NSW who played such a critical role in supporting communities throughout COVID-19 challenges. 

“The impact of the pandemic has been significant and is still being felt,” Ms Egleton said. “The flexibility of this program recognised that every community is different and requires tailored support and funding to ensure that they can continue to provide vital services, bring people and community organisations together and enable locally-led responses as and when required.

“Being able to support the many community organisations and not-for-profits who have gone above and beyond for their communities during such difficult times and enable them to be better prepared in the future is important to the ongoing sustainability and vibrancy of these communities.”

A complete list of the projects supported is below.

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
Agape Outreach Inc

Upskill Disaster Support & Resilience Project
Improve staff and volunteer resilience and increase capacity to support community through mental health and wellbeing training.

Tweed Heads $36,600
Albury Wodonga Regional Foodshare

Community Pantry
Increase organisational capacity and service reach through the employment of a project coordinator. 

Albury $25,000
Armidale Care for Seniors Inc

Installation of Solar Panels and Implement a Senior's Wellness Activity
Improve capacity of Armidale Care for Seniors to support seniors by running a wellness program. 

Armidale $35,280
Bega Valley Shire Business Forum

Growing Volunteer Participation in Local Business Chambers
Support economic recovery by strengthening the volunteer base and upskilling committee members across the Forum’s seven member organisations. 

Bega $50,000
Boys To The Bush Ltd

Boys to the Bush (BttB) Young Up and Coming
Support Boys to the Bush to establish a presence in Young NSW through the delivery of camps for disadvantaged young males and associated community engagement.

Young $49,970
Carevan Wagga Incorporated

Carevan Continues to Care
Support Carevan Wagga to provide meals to people experiencing food insecurity through the purchase of take-away food containers and gloves.

Wagga Wagga $3,363
Carries Place Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services Inc

Establishing Client Centric Spaces within a Community Hub to Support the Provision of Domestic Violence and Homelessness Services in the Hunter Community
Grow the capacity of Carrie’s Place to support domestic and family violence victims in the Hunter through a trauma-informed fit-out of a new hub.

Maitland $23,188
Community College-Northern Inland Inc

Human Resources Project
Improve the capacity of CCNI to provide targeted and relevant education to rural and regional communities through improved HR processes and policies.

Barraba $30,000
Coonamble Cancer Survival Fund Inc

Governance Training
Strengthen and support community groups by providing current and future volunteer committee members with governance training. 

Coonamble $4,095
Emmanuel Care Centre Inc

Business Continuation
Improve organisational sustainability through hiring of new staff member. 

Dubbo $26,508
Forster Neighbourhood Centre Inc

Futureproofing Forster/Tuncurry
Promote organisational capacity and support local access to essential services by contributing to the fit out of the new Forster Neighbourhood Centre. 

Forster-Tuncurry $50,000
Gundagai Neighbourhood Centre Inc

Fridays for Friendship
Support organisation to empower local recovery and resilience building through weekly wellbeing sessions.

Gundagai $42,766
Gunnedah Meals on Wheels Association

Our Elderly are Resilient and Deserved to be Looked After
Improve capacity of Gunnedah Meals on Wheels to support vulnerable community members through a hamper program and the purchase of a large deep freeze.

Gunnedah $8,150
Home-Start National Inc

Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Volunteer Resilience Project
Build the capacity of Home Start in the West Lake Macquarie region through bridging funding for a part-time project coordinator.

Lake Macquarie $20,546
Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre Inc

Connecting Community
Increase KNCs capacity to support vulnerable community members through the employment of a community engagement worker.

Kempsey $43,546
LeaderLife Ltd

LeaderLife with Syntropics: Let's Grow
Grow organisational resilience and support skills development in local youth through the implantation of a syntropic farming system.

Dubbo $50,000
Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Specialist Services Inc

Liberty Domestic and Family Violence Wellbeing Space
Improve capability of Liberty to support domestic and family violence victims through the fit out of a new wellness space and the hiring of an onsite co-ordinator.

Port Macquarie $50,000
Louisa Johnston Centre Inc

Bonalbo Stay Connected with a New Computer Hub
Enhance organisational capacity to support Bonalbo’s residents to rebuild through the establishment of a community computer hub.

Bonalbo $40,648
Manning Support Services Inc

Keeping Families Connected
Improve service provision and client engagement while increasing organisational resilience to future pandemics.

Taree $12,581
Queer Family Inc

Queer Family Recovery Officer
Hire a Recovery Officer to support recovery and resilience building for an organisation focused on LGBTQIA+ communities in Northern NSW.

Mullumbimby $49,700
Rural Financial Counselling Service, NSW - Southern Region Ltd

Building Counsellor & Business Coach Capacity
Improve organisational capacity through targeted training in coaching and mentoring services for rural and regional businesses in financial difficulty. 

Wagga Wagga $50,000
Singleton Family Support Scheme

Singleton Family Support Scheme Incorporated
Build capacity of Singleton Family Support Scheme to assist families in crisis by increasing staff hours.

Singleton $49,500
Support for New Mums

Attracting, Training and Retaining Volunteers
Increase the capacity of support for  new mums to care for mums and babies in Tweed and Byron shires through the training of new volunteers.

Murwillumbah $10,204
Sustainable Agriculture and Gardening Eurobodalla

SAGE NSW Inc - Building Capacity and Resilience Project
Increase organisational capacity to promote food security in the Shire through the hiring of a Business Manager.

Moruya $50,000
Third Sector Australia Ltd

The Meeting Place
Enhance the capacity of Momentum to support a low socioeconomic community through the fit-out of a community space. 

Casino$1,5950
We Help Ourselves

WHOS Hunter - Day Program Fitout
Improve capacity of WHOS Hunter Valley to support patients requiring rehabilitation who are not under residential treatment, through the fit out of new premises. 

Newcastle$35,670
Wyee Community Hub Inc

Building Resilience after COVID at Wyee
Improve the capacity of WCHIA to support a more resilient Wyee through volunteer training.

Wyee$49,240

The NSW / VIC border towns of Albury / Wodonga and surrounds were severely impacted by the cross-border lockdowns during COVID restrictions. THose who live in these adjacent communities consider them one town, yet community members were unable to cross the border unless there was an extenuating circumstance. That meant families were unable to support isolated elderly family members and those living in challenging conditions, and this was exacerbated by the devastating effects of the Black Saturday bushfires which also affected the community.

HEADING: Combatting COVID with Care. IMAGE: Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare Logo.

The COVID Regional Community Support program, which was funded by the New South Wales Government and delivered by FRRR, was designed to support community groups and associated volunteers that incurred expenses in delivering food and personal care items to individuals and families affected by COVID lockdowns, by contributing funds to support ongoing service provision.

One such organisation to benefit from this program with a reimbursement grant of $13,500 was Albury Wodonga Regional FoodShare, who has supported those in need in their community since 2011, and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic was remarkable.

FoodShare commenced their Community Pantry program in 2020, which enabled food hampers to be delivered directly to members of the community. To alleviate some of the hardship experienced by families in the region due to the long-term impacts of COVID and cross-border lockdowns, they also coordinated two local pop-up hamper drive-throughs in September 2021, which provided 300 families with emergency food relief.

During the peak of the COVID outbreak, 1,200 food hampers, including culturally appropriate ingredients, were distributed locally across the region. More than half of these were delivered directly to local homes as part of a coordinated COVID emergency relief effort.

To facilitate the immediate increase in demand for FoodShare’s services, operations were extended to seven days a week. This put a strain on resources, particularly on volunteers, but was necessary to keep the community safe. On average, 30 households received hampers each day, and in many instances, this doubled on occasions during the peak of the local COVID outbreak.

To provide specialised support for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, FoodShare was supported by local organisations such as Albury-Wodonga Ethnic Communities Council (AWECC) and Murray Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group. These agencies took enquiries from CALD households who were in isolation due to the COVID outbreak. These agencies also assisted by nominating culturally specific ingredients and in some instances. their volunteers purchased additional food items and delivered these to the CALD households.

In addition to delivering hampers to local residents, FoodShare was also asked to deliver food and personal care hampers to various locations where people had been forced to isolate in accordance with Health Orders, including Rutherglen Hotels, Howlong and the Albury Caravan Park. Over 4,500 kilometres were logged from October to December last year on just one of the FoodShare vans, which was dedicated to supporting COVID operations. To support the heightened increase in demand, an additional van was also hired in November to support delivering hampers to COVID households.

This is a wonderful example of the critical role that so many local NFPs played, and the way in which they collaborated with other groups to support their community. FRRR is pleased to have been able to support this program and help the NSW Government to reimburse FoodShare for some of the costs incurred in supporting their community.

Thirty-four local groups and not-for-profits that delivered food and care hampers to regional communities during the height of the 2021 COVID-19 restrictions will share in $300,000 from the NSW Government’s COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program.

HEADING: Regional NSW groups reimbursed $300,000 for COVID relief hamper delivery.
IMAGE: High angle view of a cardboard box filled with multicolored non-perishable canned goods, conserves, sauces and oils shot on wooden table. The composition includes cooking oil bottle, pasta, crackers, preserves and tins.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said more than 72,000 hampers were delivered to residents in regional and rural parts of NSW, including Ballina, Tweed Heads, Leeton and Albury.

“These groups and organisations dropped everything and dipped into their own funds to support isolated residents during last year’s COVID-19 restrictions by partnering with Resilience NSW to prepare and deliver food, essential items and relief packs to those in need,” Ms Cooke said.

“The $300,000 will cover expenses like fuel, couriers, and logistics costs, helping these groups and organisations to continue their wonderful work into the future, including at the Ballina Hot Meal Centre which is using its $5,024 grant to purchase new freezers.”

Each grant being provided through the CRCS program ranges from $1,000 to $30,000 and is administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal.

Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal CEO Natalie Egleton said the funding recognises the critical role that local community groups played during the pandemic.

“We’re delighted that 23 per cent of applications are from Indigenous community groups, all of which played such a vital role in ensuring that their community members were cared for, and we are pleased to be able to support them with this funding,” Ms Egleton said.

Applications are currently being accepted for grants of up to $50,000 for capacity building initiatives, such as attracting and retaining volunteers and staff, enhancing governance skills, building digital capacity and creating partnerships that foster stronger, more resilient communities.

See the full list of recipients below:

OrganisationLocationsGrant
Agape Outreach IncorporatedTweed Heads - Byron Bay$1,681
Albury Wodonga Regional FoodshareAlbury$13,500
Allambi Care LimitedLake Maquarie - Warners Bay - Central Coast - Cessnock - Newcastle$7,000
Armidale / Uralla Meals On Wheels IncorporatedArmidale$3,183
Ballina Hot Meal Centre IncorporatedBallina$5,024
Belong Blue Mountains IncorporatedBlue Mountains$1,000
Camden Haven Community at 3Lakewood$1,125
CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-ManningNewcastle - Tareer - Forster - Maitland$1,977
Christian Outreach CentreKempsey - South West Rocks - Macksville - Nambucca Heads$1,350
Community Resources LimitedWollongong$3,540
Coonamble Neighbourhood CentreCoomamble - Gulargambone - Quambone$10,810
Food For Life Community Care IncorporatedShoalhaven - Primbee - Wollongong - Kiama $13,500
Galambila Aboriginal CorporationNambucca Heads - Coffs Harbour - Woolgoolga - Bowraville$30,000
Gloucester Worimi First Peoples Aboriginal CorporationGloucester$1,000
Gunnedah Meals on Wheels AssociationGunnedah$5,514
Indigenous Futures Foundation LimitedTweed Heads South - Lismore - Ballina - Grafton$30,000
Ivanhoe Central SchoolIvanhoe - Balranald - Carrathool$6,100
Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Regional Health And Community ServicesBatemans Bay - Narooma - Bega - Catalina - Dalmeny$30,000
Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre IncKempsey$4,500
Leeton Community Care Development IncorporatedLeeton$13,500
Lions Club Of Raymond Terrace IncorporatedRaymond Terrace$1,420
Livefree Project IncorporatedNewcastle$13,500
Miyay Birray Youth Service IncorporatedMoree - Mungindi - Garah - Boomi$18,345
Moree Sports Health Arts And Education Academy Aboriginal CorporationMoree$5,723
Orana Support Service IncorporatedDubbo - Wellington - Narromine$21,000
Oxley Community Transport Service IncorporatedWest Tamworth$4,500
Queer Family IncorporatedMullumbimby - Byron Bay - Lismore - Kyogle$2,250
Salt CareUlladulla - Bomaderry - Nowra - Kangaroo Valley - Jervis Bay$20,460
Sapphire Community Projects IncorporatedBega - Tura Beach - Bermagui - Candelo - Quaama$4,703
Seventh-Day Adventist Church - South New South Wales ConferenceBathurst - Blayney - Mandurama - Cowra$5,600
The Heartland Foundation LimitedPort Macquarie$5,000
The Mend AND Make Do Crew IncorporatedSouth Grafton$6,750
Uralla Neighbourhood Day Care Centre 1Walcha$4,860
Weilwan Local Aboriginal Land CouncilGulargambone$1,585

Local community groups and not-for profit organisations in remote, rural and regional NSW are being offered grants to boost preparedness for future pandemics and other disasters.

Woman unloading fruit box out of the back of a van

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the program, funded by the NSW Government, was established to strengthen groups that have played a critical role in supporting communities throughout COVID-19.

“These grants are being offered through the Resilience NSW COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program and are administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR),” Ms Cooke said.

“Grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded toward regional capacity building initiatives such as those that attract and retain volunteers and staff, train to enhance governance skills, build digital capacity and create partnerships that foster stronger, more resilient communities.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that regional organisations in NSW have gone above and beyond for their communities during the pandemic, especially when for many it was also on top of floods, fires and the mouse plague.

“Remote, rural and regional community groups and not-for-profits really stepped up in what were extraordinary times. We take our hats off to them for how they have persevered, especially in the face of so many challenges.

“The findings of our Heartbeat of Rural Australia study last year highlighted that many community groups were really fatigued and able to operate at only a fraction of their usual capacity. They were struggling to find volunteers and staff, and while many groups turned online, the digital divide that exists between urban areas and regional areas became really apparent, as did several other capacity constraints.

“This program has been designed in partnership with the NSW Government to enable community groups to address these issues and fill the gaps that became more evident during the pandemic. We know that every community is different, so it’s deliberately flexible and will support community groups to be better prepared in future,” Ms Egleton said.

To find out what can be funded through the capacity building stream, and to apply, visit https://frrr.org.au/ResNSW-Covid-Support.

Applications close 5pm AEST on Friday 29 April 2022.

Local groups and not-for-profit organisations that delivered food and care hampers to community members across regional NSW during the 2021 COVID lockdowns can now apply to recoup up to $30,000 of their distribution costs. Reimbursed funds will be available in late April 2022.

The Resilience NSW COVID Regional Community Support (CRCS) program will be funded by the NSW Government and administered by the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR).

Eligible hampers for the program are those delivered to people who were directed by Health orders to stay in isolation, and had no other means to access food or personal care items themselves.

Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience Steph Cooke said the NSW Government was committed to supporting community groups and not-for-profits in their important work.

“We know that many community groups had to dip into their own funds to distribute hampers and relief packs to people who needed extra support during the lockdowns,” said Ms Cooke.

“This funding opportunity will cover expenses like fuel, couriers, and logistics costs, helping them to continue their wonderful work into the future.”

Resilience NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons recognized the contributions that had been made to support communities impacted by COVID-19.

“These groups deserve our gratitude for all they have done to support their fellow community members in regional parts of the state,” said Mr Fitzsimmons.

“This program, which is being run by FRRR on behalf of Resilience NSW, will allow eligible organisations to be reimbursed up to $30,000.”

Natalie Egleton, CEO of FRRR, said that regional community groups across NSW have worked hard to support their communities through COVID, despite themselves facing funding and operational challenges.

“Rural not-for-profits’ resources are stretched incredibly thin, and for many groups, the costs of distributing these hampers came out of their own pockets, so getting money back into their kitty is vital,” said Ms Egleton.

“We have worked closely with Resilience NSW to ensure that the reimbursement application process is straight-forward but if you have any questions just give us a call on 1800 170 020 and our team will be happy to talk you through it.”

A second stream of this program will open in March. The Capacity Building Stream is designed to help strengthen local community groups and not-for-profits in regional areas, so that they are better able to continue supporting their communities through COVID and future crises.

To find out what can be funded through the Reimbursement Stream, and to apply, visit https://frrr.org.au/ResNSW-Covid-Support.

Applications close 5pm AEDT on Tuesday 8 March 2022.